Please retire OU baboons from research
I am contacting you to ask that University of Oklahoma work together with the National Institutes of Health to retire all the university’s baboons from biomedical research. After learning about the egregious problems with animal care at the baboon facility, I was happy to hear that you chose to end OU’s baboon program. I hope that you will continue this positive legacy by retiring the baboons from biomedical research permanently. The closing of the baboon facility at OU offers the opportunity to reassess its role in research. Significant progress has been made – and continues to be made – in the field of alternatives to animals. These include new techniques in 3D cell cultures using induced pluripotent human stem cells for regenerative medicine, which shows great promise to exceed using animal organs by circumventing issues of rejection and providing patient-specific tissues. Advances in organs-on-chips provide opportunities to study infectious diseases and pathology in great detail. Both the NIH and the pharmaceutical industry are investing in organs-on-chips to replace failed preclinical use of animals, while the U.S. government’s Tox21 Program is advancing a new paradigm for toxicity tests without animals. These methods have been embraced precisely because animal models have failed. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine issued a report on the utility of research on chimpanzees and concluded that “most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary.” If research using human’s closest genetic relative is unnecessary, then we must scrutinize any decision to continue using baboons. In a world that is rapidly moving away from animal experimentation, your decision to release these baboons to sanctuaries would make a major difference in driving progress and restoring the reputation of the University. Thank you for making the right choice to close down the OU baboon colony. Please take the next step by working to procure their retirement from research.
This message is going to David Boren, OU President and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins
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